Language Translation

Books I'm Reading

  • "Surviving the Anointing" by David Ravenhill

Books I've Read

  • "Revival God's Way" by Leonard Ravenhill
  • "Tongues: Beyond the Upper Room" by Kenneth E. Hagin
  • "The Dynamic Duo: The Holy Spirit & You" by Rick Renner

Monday, March 31, 2008

Making Room for the Holy Spirit

It is amazing. During the last few years, the American clothing industry has secretly created a way to make billions of dollars by altering the way that they measure our clothes. Let it be known throughout the land, they are making their clothes smaller and smaller. The medium isn't as medium as it used to be, the large isn't as large as it used to be, and so on. And, to make things worse, according to reputable supermarket tabloids, the global warming issue that is troubling everyone is not only affecting the polar ice caps, it is having a drastic effect upon the clothes hanging in our closets. This problem that Al Gore so eloquently addressed has invaded my clothes closet and is warping the fibers in the shirts and slacks making the clothes shrink. Combine the clothing industry conspiracy and the global warming fabric debacle and you will understand why I now have a closet full of clothes that no longer fit! It is getting more and more difficult to crowd all of me into such a limited area.

The reason for this blog isn't to promote the Jenny Craig weight loss program. I've just described the Holy Spirit's feelings. In our lives and ministries, His allocated space is becoming smaller and more restricted. We are too busy in our personal lives for His interaction. The ministry formulas are creating less and less room for Him. The One whom Jesus told of in John 14, the Comforter or Parakletos, is looking for the opportunity to fulfill His assignment. He longs to walk alongside us 24/7, talking, counseling, guiding, helping, comforting, teaching, ... need I say more? He wants to be a part of every area of our lives. And yet, if the truth be known, He is squeezed into such a tiny portion of our lives.

Let's call the alterations store and let out the seams. Let's make room for the Holy Spirit. Let's begin to recognize that He is literally walking alongside of us. Let's recognize that He is the invited guest in our ministry. If necessary, pull out the scissors and cut away the threads that have restricted the "fullness" of the Spirit from being seen.

This isn't difficult or painful. I know from experience. When the seams are removed or let out, you will breathe a whole lot easier. Come on, let's breathe again. Let's make room for the Holy Spirit!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Batteries Not Included

Let me describe what possibly could be every parent's worst nightmare. For months, your child has been hinting, begging, earnestly interceding for the latest electronic "necessity" of life. Although its price tag will take a large portion of your retirement savings, the anticipation of the look on your angel's face will make it worth the extreme sacrifice. On Christmas morning, the moment arrives. Excitement fills the air as your darling pushes aside package after package looking for the gift of all gifts. Upon finding what should be the package, wrapping paper flies through the air, then a shrill of excitement as the gift is ripped out of its package ... and then ... the moment of horror. You discover those words that are printed in microscopic print "Batteries Not Included." To your dismay, you can't find 16 AAA batteries and it's a 45-minute trip into town to look for a store that would be open on Christmas. Without the batteries, the gift can't do what it is designed to do. And now, you'll have to deal with the "ho,ho,ho" of Christmas turning into a big "no,no,no" ... no peace, no happiness, no quiet until the batteries can be found.

Here's the reason for this blog. Admittedly, there are millions of Christians who love Jesus and yet are not filled with the Spirit. Little do they realize that we entered into this world with the words "Batteries Not Included" stamped upon our spirits. Just like the gift on Christmas morning, we too can't do what we are designed to do without spiritual batteries. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill our God-given assignment. (Acts 1:8).

One more thought ... we need to daily charge our spiritual batteries. Whether you know it or not, we leak or drain. The pressures of this life, the size of our mission can drain us. We must constantly recharge our batteries by daily praying in our heavenly prayer language. (Jude 20, 1 Corinthians 14:4). The apostle Paul instructed the Ephesian church to renew itself by being filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18). The literal Greek translation tells us to continually be filled with the Spirit. The promise and gift from the Father (Acts 1:5) isn't a one time experience, it was only the beginning, the insertion of the spiritual battery. Now, we must daily recharge our batteries by our time of intimacy and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, praying in the Spirit!

Monday, March 17, 2008

God Wants to Invade the Nursery/Toddler/Preschool Ministries

One battle that most children's ministry leaders and workers face is the constant feeling of being overlooked and misunderstood. We hate that there are those who look at our ministries as being childcare. We long for people to recognize that God is moving in our classrooms and auditoriums.

Here's a problem that is rarely addressed ... do we have this same childcare concept for our nurseries and preschool ministries? Our first reaction might be that we aren't guilty. We love our babies, toddlers, and 3- and 4-year-olds. We have great teachers with them each week.

After listening to a CD of Vickie's teaching from our national Ignite conference, I was challenged to ask you to reexamine these ministries and ask some pertinent questions. Are you making room for the Holy Spirit to move in these ministries? If John recognized the presence of God in Mary while he was still in his mother's womb (Luke 1:41), can't our babies be impacted by God's Spirit today? If praise and worship is truly in a child's DNA (Psalm 8:2), can't our toddlers and preschoolers dance before the Lord and lift their voices and hands as they worship God? If God told the young Jeremiah that He would put words into his mouth (Jeremiah 1:6-7), can't our young boys and girls speak God's Word?

Consider these ideas: (Remember, don't be lengthy. You are dealing with short attention spans.)
PRAY. Lay hands on and pray over every child in your nursery/classroom each week. You have no idea what is going on in that child's home. You have no idea about "baggage" that has been passed down from generation to generation. Pray blessings with your understanding. Pray blessings in the Spirit.
WORSHIP. Praise and worship must be included in each service. Sing the same songs each week. At this age, repetition is important. Make it fun with the dancing unto the Lord and clapping. Make it worshipful with hands raised, eyes closed.
SPEAK. Have the children say God's Word. Often the verse is the same week after week. Don't just say the verse. Allow the children to speak God's Word. You are creating what hopefully will become a lifelong discipline!

Let's create radical, Jesus-loving, Holy Ghost-moving children's ministries and allow it to begin in your nurseries!

(Do yourself a favor and pass this blog entry on to your nursery/toddler/preschooler leaders. You'll be glad you did!!!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

The "Realness" of the Holy Spirit

Each week, I wrestle with trying to contain the blog to approximately 350 words. I know that people will only read so many words and then want to move on to the next site. Admittedly, I fail 90% of the time. There is just so much that I want to share and too little space to convey my heart and passion.

This week, it will be easy to work within these self-imposed restraints. Though the words this week are few, the message is enormous. Here's the message:

If the Holy Spirit isn't real to you, how is He going to be real through you?

Those who move mightily with the Holy Spirit have this "realness" revelation. This revelation changes an "it" or a mystical force into Someone who longs to be real in your life and then your ministry. It was because of this revelation that Kathryn Kuhlman could say, "The Holy Spirit is more real to me than you are." His realness produces His manifest presence.

How real is He to you? Do you talk to Him? Do you allow time for Him to talk back to you? Do you know His personality, likes, and dislikes?

Turn off the teaching CD or the Christian television program. Close that book for a while. Get to know the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to walk off the pages of the Bible and become real to you. Then and only then will He become real through you.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Flowing with the Spirit

Here's a no-brainer ... the person who chooses to drive while constantly looking in the automobile's rear view mirror is destined to become a casualty! Focusing entirely upon what is behind you will prevent you from seeing what lies ahead of you. Continuing this practice will cause you to become a listing in your newspaper's obituary column.

Many Spirit-filled children's ministry leaders make this horrible mistake in their services. When the Holy Spirit moves in a service during a particular song or event, they make a note of the methodology and begin to do the same thing in each and every service expecting to have the same results. All of a sudden, they have discovered "the" formula for a move of God.

A biblical example of this is found in John 5 where the sick man is laying beside the pool of Bethesda. In this story, Jesus comes and asks if he wants to be healed. The man almost missed his miracle because he was totally focusing upon a set formula. His attention focused upon how God had moved in the past. The sick man knew what was needed to replicate that miracle. And yet, God wanted to demonstrate His presence and power in a new way at that exact moment.

Here's my reason for this week's blog. Do we in children's ministry have our set of formulas of how God has to move? After all, the Spirit of God walked into our room three months ago when we sang a particular song, right? Didn't He move mightily when we brought the kids forward after the second worship song?

Remember, constantly looking in the rear view mirror might not produce what we want! Let's be thankful for the past moves of God and looking forward to what He wants to do today. Let's go with His flow and see Isaiah 43:19 happen in our services. "For I'm going to do a brand new thing. See, I have already begun! Don't you see it?" (The Living Bible).